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Overnight Dialysis Patients Had Less Anemia and Urea, Study Finds

by Lynn Shapiro, Writer | May 27, 2009
Hemodialysis machine
Overnight dialysis is more convenient for some patients and offers significant benefits over shorter daytime treatments, according to a study appearing in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).

Dialysis removes waste products such as phosphate and urea from the blood, usually in three to five hours of treatments three days a week. Unfortunately, even this difficult schedule may not be frequent enough to maintain many patients' health. Some clinics offer an alternative: three weekly overnight dialysis sessions lasting six hours or more.

To test the effectiveness of this alternative schedule, Dr. Joanna Ruth Powell (Western Infirmary, United Kingdom) and her colleagues compared the health of patients who received long overnight dialysis sessions in her clinic with those who received conventional dialysis during the day.
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During 10 years of study, 146 patients (about 11 percent) chose long overnight dialysis treatments.

Investigators studied various health parameters in 106 patients, with equal numbers receiving overnight dialysis and conventional dialysis for at least one year. The patients who chose overnight dialysis had lower rates of anemia and reduced levels of urea in their blood.

Previous studies have found that overnight dialysis also reduces patients' blood pressure, blood phosphate levels, and risk of premature death compared with conventional dialysis. This study did not observe these benefits, however.

The researchers concluded that long overnight dialysis is a practical way for clinics to offer longer dialysis sessions that are well tolerated by most patients with kidney disease.

The article, entitled "Ten Years' Experience of In-Centre Thrice Weekly Long Overnight Hemodialysis," appears online at http://cjasn.asnjournals.org.

Source: Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).